Ronda Rousey has received two ESPY nominations. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
A trio of UFC titlists – Ronda Rousey, Jon Jones and Chris Weidman -- have received ESPY nominations for 2014.
Rousey leads the way with two nominations, for “Best Female Athlete” as well as “Best Fighter.” Jones, will compete against Rousey in the “Best Fighter” category, while Weidman’s UFC 162 triumph over then middleweight champion Anderson Silva is a candidate for “Best Upset.”
An online fan vote on ESPN.com will decide the winner in 33 categories, which also include “Best Team,” Best Breakthrough Performance” and “Best Championship Performance,” among others. The ceremony takes place on July 16 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles and airs on ESPN.
Last year, both Jones and Silva were nominated for “Best Fighter,” but boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. ultimately captured the honor for a fifth time. The category was changed from “Best Boxer” in 2007 to include MMA. However, a mixed martial artist has yet to win the award since the change, despite the likes of Silva, Jones, Georges St. Pierre, Lyoto Machida, Quinton Jackson and Randy Couture receiving nominations. Jones and Rousey are joined in the “Best Fighter” category by Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and Andre Ward.
Meanwhile, Rousey will go head-to-head against the WNBA’s Maya Moore, alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin and University of Connecticut basketball standout Breanna Stewart for “Best Female Athlete.”
Weidman is matched up with a pair of men’s college basketball upsets: The University of Connecticut basketball team’s national championship triumph as a No. 7 seed, and No. 14 seed Mercer’s first-round shocker against Duke in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Rousey has successfully defended the women’s bantamweight crown three times in the Octagon, most recently scoring a first-round TKO of Sara McMann in February. She will face Alexis Davis at UFC 175 on July 5.
Jones has defended his light heavyweight title twice since coming up short at last year’s ESPYs, besting Alexander Gustafsson in September and Glover Teixeira at UFC 172. “Bones” is slated for a rematch with Gustafsson on Sept. 27.
Weidman captured the 185-pound strap with his upset over Silva last July before defeating “The Spider” once again at UFC 168 in December. The Serra-Longo Fight Team representative is scheduled to next put the middleweight crown on the line against Lyoto Machida in the UFC 175 headliner.